Arab academic researchers call for Islamic Jerusalem studies [Archives:2007/1106/Local News]

November 26 2007

SANA'A, Nov. 24 ) The newly established Humanities and Social Science Research Center at the University of Science and Technology organized its first international academic conference on humanities and social sciences under the theme, “Introducing the New Field of Islamic Jerusalem Studies to the Arab World.”

Jointly organized by the Center for Islamic Jerusalem Studies at Al-Maktoum Institute, located at Scotland's University of Aberdeen, and the Humanities and Social Science Research Center at the University of Science and Technology in Sana'a, the conference seemingly was a success.

Approximately 250 attended, including the university's top management team, several Yemeni university presidents, Arab ambassadors or their representatives and professors and lecturers from Yemeni and other Arab universities.

Attendees first were introduced to the new field, which was developed in the U.K., and were interested in the field and its various aspects, including promoting an Islamic Jerusalem as a model for conflict resolution, peaceful coexistence, security and multiculturalism.

The field's founder, professor Abd Al-Fatah Al-Awaisi, explained its historical development in the U.K., particularly at Al-Maktoum Institute, over the past decade, further highlighting the field's future development, especially “transferring” it to the Arab and Muslim worlds.

Attendees also heard from two members of Al-Maktoum Institute, Khalid Al-Awaisi, who discussed the rediscovered boundaries of the Islamic Jerusalem region, and Maher Abu-Munshar, who introduced Islamic Jerusalem as a model for multiculturalism and diversity. Another Arab world researcher presented various papers on new understanding and theories within the field.

The conference yielded two practical recommendations for the Arab world, both of which were approved unanimously. First, Yemeni universities should teach Islamic Jerusalem studies at the undergraduate level and second, the Arab Universities League should encourage all Arab universities to teach the course at the undergraduate level.

Founder Al-Awaisi noted, “This is an exciting time for this new field as it transfers a well-established field from the U.K. to a much needier Arab world.”

Al-Maktoum Institute's acting principal Malory Nye stated, “This is the first time we've participated in such an event in the Arab world to promote our cutting edge research in Islamic Jerusalem studies. It's pleasing to hear of the conference's good response in the Arab world.”

Also director of the Center for Islamic Jerusalem Studies, Al-Awaisi says Islamic Jerusalem studies is a new and exciting field that has been well-received in the Arab world for its inclusive and multicultural agenda.

“We're looking forward to a series of similar conferences in capitals across the Arab and Muslim worlds to promote multiculturalism and diversity during these times of ignorance and alienation,” he concluded.